Saturday, 22 August 2015

"Kartoffelbrot" German Potato Bread

Yes. This is a potato loaf. A lot of potatoes are in there. When I came across this recipe, I was puzzled how 50:50 potato and flour makes a loaf.  But, here it is. It's soft, moist and more-ish. Although it's a bit of a fiddle to make this humble looking loaf, it's worth the effort. It has very distinctive texture different from any bread I have ever baked. The bouncy texture remains even a day after it is baked. 
Great with a bowl of soup.


  • about 375g/13oz potatoes, peeled and cut into even chunks (Exactly 300g/101⁄2oz peeled weight. Check the weight once they are peeled.)
  • 1 tsp dried fast-action yeast
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 300g/101⁄2oz strong white flour, plus extra for kneading (or 100g/31⁄2oz strong wholemeal flour and 200g/7oz strong white flour) 


  1. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat slightly and cook for 15–20 minutes until they are tender but not falling apart.
  2. Drain the potatoes in a colander over a bowl and reserve the cooking liquid. Return the potatoes to the pan and toss over a very low heat for 2-3 minutes until any excess liquid has evaporated.
  3. Pour 75ml/5 tbsp of the warm cooking liquid into a large bowl and leave to cool for a few minutes. When it’s lukewarm, sprinkle in the yeast. Stir in the sugar and leave in a warm place for about 10 minutes until a light foam appears on the surface. (Add an extra tablespoon of the cooking liquor for a mixture of wholemeal and white flour.)
  4. Mash the potatoes with the oil in the saucepan until they’re as smooth as possible, then stir in the yeast mixture.
  5. Mix well with a wooden spoon and gradually add the flour and salt, a few tablespoons at a time, stirring well before adding more. Turn it out on to the work surface and knead the remaining flour into the dough. At this stage, the dough looks dry, do NOT be tempted to add more water otherwise the dough WILL become too sticky to work with.
  6. Knead the dough for 10 minutes until soft and pliable. Place it in a lightly oiled bowl, cover loosely with lightly oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 60-90 minutes, or until well-risen and spongy to touch.
  7. Knock back the dough with your knuckles and shape it into a rough ball. Flatten the ball on a floured surface, then bring the sides up to the middle to give a rustic surface to the bread. Sprinkle on some flour. Place it on a lightly oiled and floured baking sheet and leave to prove in a warm place for a further 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 220°C/Fan 200°C Score the dough with a knife along the pinched join and sprinkle the top with the onion seeds. Bake the loaf in the centre of the oven for 35 minutes until well risen and crusty on top. Cool on a wire rack. 

Monday, 17 August 2015

Crème brûlée tarts (Post Pavlova tarts)

Previously on "Kyoto.B bakes", I baked a Pavlova using 4 egg whites.  Obviously I had 4 egg yolks leftover. 
I could have made ice cream, mayonnaise, or custard, but in the end I decided to go with "crème brûlée tarts" which are basically posh custard tarts. As I used one egg yolk for the pastry dough, it was easier to work with than using no binding agent at all. And better still, the texture of the pastry melted in my mouth.  So, there was no waste. I used all the leftover egg yolks. Job done. 
I could have made an authentic crème brûlée by sprinkling some sugar on top of the baked tarts and caramelising with a blowtorch. As I don't have such fancy equipment, I just sprinkled demerara sugar on them instead. Just the job. 
I know they are rather chunky looking tarts but I enjoyed the "shortbread" style pastry. 
Of course you can make them as elegant as you wish by making very thin pastry.

Ingredients   (For 12 small tarts)

For Pastry
  • 225g plain flour
  • 60g icing sugar
  • 125g butter, chilled, chopped
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons chilled water

For Custard               
  • 300 ml pouring cream
  • 1 egg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 5 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

  1. Mix the flour, icing sugar and butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add egg yolk and water and process until the dough just comes together. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
  2. Preheat oven to 180ºC (fan oven).  Grease the muffin baking tray. Roll the dough and cut 12 round thin discs. Place them in the muffin baking tray.
  3. Cover the pastry bases with non-stick baking paper. Fill with baking beans. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and baking beans. Bake for 6 minutes or until golden. Reduce temperature to 140ºC (fan oven).
  4. Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat. Whisk the egg, sugar, vanilla bean paste and extra egg yolks in a heatproof bowl. Gradually whisk in the cream until combined. Pour the custard mixture into the pastry cases. Bake for 20 minutes or until just set. Sprinkle the tarts with demerara sugar. Set aside to cool completely.


This is my first attempt at the famous "Pavlova." After a few disasters making Merangue, I thought I'd never be able to make this "egg-white wonder."  However, I thought I'd have a go as we have a lot of raspberries growing in our little garden.
It turned out far better than I expected. It had crunch outside and marshmallow texture inside. I'm so happy about the result. The only issue was the colour. It was as white as snow before I put it in the oven, but it came out slightly brown. So I asked my baking friends what I should have done to make it a "VERY white" Pavlova.  So, here is the list to check.
  • Set the oven temperature VERY low. Think of "drying" rather than "baking".
  • Turn  the temperature down immediately after when the pavlova goes in the oven. 
  • Use a "conventional oven" rather than a "fan oven".
  • Make pavlova in the evening and leave it to cool in the oven overnight.
  • Keep the oven door shut when it's cooling if you want to have a "marshmallow" texture inside.
  • Don't worry if it goes a bit beige, it's natural. 
  • "The nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two nations, Australia and New Zealand, for many years, but formal research indicates New Zealand as the source,"  according to Wikipedia.

Unfortunately, my oven is fan and does not have a "conventional" option. So, I'll adjust the temperature lower. It's a good idea to make pavlova a day before serving.  Great news for a stress free dinner party. So, here is the updated recipe. 


For the Base

  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 4 medium free range eggs, at room temperature
  • 200g caster sugar 

For the topping
  • Your choice of fresh summer fruit 
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 250ml creme fraiche 

  1. Preheat the oven to 140°C (fan).
  2. Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking parchment, cutting it to fit. Using a cake tin or plate as a template, draw a 23cm diameter circle on the parchment with a pencil.

  3. Place the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla extract in a small bowl and blend with a teaspoon until smooth.
  4. Separate the eggs one at a time, taking care not to include any yolks with the whites.
  5. As each egg is separated, tip the white into the large mixing bowl.
 Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff enough to hold their shape.
  6. Whisk in the sugar a tablespoonful at a time, adding a little of the cornflour mixture each time.
  7. When all the sugar and cornflour has been added, the consistency of the mixture will be thick and marshmallowy.

  8. Using the spatula, turn the meringue mixture onto the baking sheet. Spread it to the marked line, then swirl with the spatula, making a slight indentation in the centre for the filling.
  9. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 120°C (fan) and bake for 1 hour, then turn the oven off and leave the pavlova base to cool completely in the oven.

  10. Spread some lemon curd, apricot jam or home-made summer fruit coolee over the indent in the pavlova. Then top up with the creme fraiche and decorate with the summer fruit.